Ringo Starr releasing new EP, ‘Change the World,’ in September; listen to lead track now


After releasing the five-song Zoom In EP this past March, Ringo Starr has unveiled plans to issue a new four-track EP called Change the World on September 24 on CD, cassette and digital formats.

In addition, a 10-inch vinyl version will follow on November 19.

Starr first announced details about Change the World during a livestream event Thursday at TalkShop.Live that featured an interview with the former Beatles drummer while giving fans the chance to pre-order the EP’s various versions.

Coinciding with the announcement, Ringo has released the EP’s lead track, “Let’s Change the World,” digitally. The uplifting pop-rock song was co-written by Toto‘s Joseph Williams and Steve Lukather, the latter of whom also is a longtime member of Ringo’s All Starr Band.

The second track is a reggae-flavored tune titled “Just That Way,” which Ringo co-wrote with his longtime engineer Bruce Sugar, and features veteran reggae guitarist Tony Chin.

Track three is the country-influenced “Coming Undone,” which was penned by hit-making songwriter/producer Linda Perry. Perry also plays on the tune, as does acclaimed New Orleans musician Trombone Shorty.

Closing out Change the World is Ringo’s homage to the early rock ‘n’ roll that served as such a big inspiration to him, a cover of Billy Haley & His Comets‘ classic “Rock Around the Clock.” Eagles guitarist — and Starr’s brother-in-law — Joe Walsh lends his talents to the track.

Like Zoom In, Ringo recorded Change the World at his home studio, Roccabella West.

“I’ve been saying I only want to release EPs at this point and this is the next one,” notes Ringo. “What a blessing it’s been during this year to have a studio here at home and be able to collaborate with so many great musicians.”

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Dire Straits bassist John Illsley to release memoir in November featuring foreword by Mark Knopfler

Diversion Books

John Illsley, who played bass with Dire Straits for the band’s entire career, has written a memoir about his life and his experiences with the famous British group led by singer/guitarist Mark Knopfler.

My Life in Dire Straits: The Inside Story of One of the Biggest Bands in Rock History will be released on November 9, and will feature Illsley’s first-hand recollections of the band’s journey — from playing U.K. pubs, to the stages of some of the world’s biggest venues. The bassist also shares details about the recording of Dire Straits many classic songs and albums.

“This book above all is about passion and pursuing your dreams — taking the unpredictable path, not the easy option,” Illsey says. “It charts the journey from my innocent teens strumming a few chords, to playing on the biggest stages in the world; a chance meeting in 1976 with Mark Knopfler that created a musical partnership that lasted 20 years, and a strong friendship that continues to this day.”

He adds, “Dire Straits was an idea that created a phenomenal musical legacy, an extraordinary journey of joy, fun, companionship and surprises. I am immensely proud of my contribution to this journey.”

Knopfler has penned the book’s foreword. He writes in one segment, “For us, it was a huge adventure and a hell of a ride, with all its comedy, absurdity, exhaustion, madness, and sadness…This ride is not for everyone, not for those who can’t take the pressures and the pace…It was a different world. And John has remembered a pretty big chunk of it.”

Besides Knoplfer, Illsley was the only Dire Straits member to play with the band from its inception to its 1995 dissolution. John also has released eight solo albums and is an accomplished painter.

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He rides and he rides: Iggy Pop stars in new commercial for Unagi electric scooters

Jim Dyson/Getty Images

The Godfather of Punk’s got a new set of wheels.

Iggy Pop stars in a pair of new ads for the electric scooter company Unagi. One clip finds the “Lust for Life” rocker riding his scooter while suggesting “Maybe the should rename it Un-Iggy” as The Stooges‘ “Down on the Street” plays in the background. In the other, Pop posits that Unagi scooters allow you to “experience euphoria without the psychedelics.”

“Like Iggy, Unagi values personal freedom and individuality,” says Unagi founder and CEO David Hyman. “That’s why we built the ideal personal liberation device with our Model 1 e-scooter.”

“As a challenger brand, Iggy represents the spirit of Unagi,” Hyman adds. “We’re happy to debut this campaign as part of an ongoing collaboration.”

By the way, Pop isn’t the only musician you’ll see riding an Unagi. Billie Eilish previously collaborated with the company to create her own custom scooter.

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Billy Idol says his one-year-old granddaughter is a fan of his music

Credit: Steven Sebring

Billy Idol became a grandfather for the first time last year, and the 65-year-old pop-punk singer tells People that the experience has enriched his life.

“It opens you up emotionally,” he says. “Everything is a new experience for her. In a way, I’m reliving those experiences myself.”

Idol’s daughter, Bonnie Broad, gave birth to a daughter of her own in May 2020. Billy says his one-year-old grandkkid, who’s named Poppy Rebel, is already a fan of his music.

“The other day she was bouncing up and down to ‘Rebel Yell,'” he says of his 1983 hit. “But of course, she also loves ‘Baby Shark.'”

The rocker, who just announced that he’ll be releasing a four-song EP next month titled The Roadside, says the downtime he had during the COVID-19 pandemic gave him the chance to spend some quality time with his granddaughter.  He tells People that he’s been teaching the little one how to talk and walk.

“She can say ‘dude,’ ‘duck’ and ‘fish,'” he reports.

Last month, Billy posted an adorable video on his Instagram of Poppy feeding him blueberries.

Idol recently launched a run of 2021 U.S. tour dates that continues tonight with a show in Airway Heights, Washington. The trek winds down with a four-show Las Vegas residency in October.

Meanwhile, the lead single from The Roadside, “Bitter Taste,” is available digitally now.

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ZZ Top recordings move up ‘Billboard’ charts in the wake of bassist Dusty Hill’s death

Credit: Ross Halfin

The July 28 death of ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill apparently has spurred fans to revisit the Texas trio’s catalog and has driven a number of their recordings back up the Billboard charts.

The band’s 1974 hit “La Grange” lands at the top of Billboard‘s latest Hard Rock Digital Song Sales, with 1,600 units sold during the most recent week-long tracking period, according to MRC Data. The track becomes ZZ Top’s first song to hit #1 on the list. The previous week, shortly after Hill’s passing, “La Grange” reached #2 on the chart.

Three other ZZ Top songs currently are in the top 10 of the Hard Rock Digital Song Sales — 1983’s “Sharp Dressed Man” at #2, 1975’s “Tush” at #5, and 1983’s “Gimme All Your Lovin'” at #6.

“La Grange” also sits at #6 on the general Rock Digital Song Sales tally, while the other aforementioned tunes all are in that chart’s top 20.

Meanwhile, ZZ Top’s 2019 hits compilation Goin’ 50 entered Billboard‘s Hard Rock Albums chart at #5 and the Top Rock Albums tally at #20 after accruing 8,400 album-equivalent units.

Overall, the band’s catalog was streamed 12.7 million times in the U.S. during the most recent tracking period, while notching 8,000 in album sales and 14,000 digital downloads of its songs.

Hill died suddenly at his home in Houston at the age of 72. He had been taking a break from the group’s current tour to seek treatment for a number of medical issues. No cause of death has been announced.

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Robert Plant and Alison Krauss reunite for second duets album, ‘Raise the Roof’; plot 2022 tour

Rounder Records

Led Zeppelin‘s Robert Plant has reteamed with acclaimed country-bluegrass artist Alison Krauss to record a new collaborative album titled Raise the Roof, a follow-up to their Grammy-winning 2007 duets collection, Raising Sand.

Like its predecessor, the 12-track Raise the Roof collection was produced by T Bone Burnett and features mostly of covers songs.

The album includes renditions of tunes by Merle Haggard, Allen Toussaint, The Everly Brothers, British folk legend Bert Jansch and many others. Raise the Roof also features a new original tune called “High and Lonesome” that Plant co-wrote with Burnett.

One of the tracks, a version of the Randy Weeks song “Can’t Let Go” — which Lucinda Williams previously covered for her 1998 album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road — has been released as an advance digital single.

Los Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo and Robert’s Band of Joy collaborator Buddy Miller contributed to the album, as did a few musicians who also appeared on Raising Sand — drummer Jay Bellerose, guitarist Marc Ribot and bassist Dennis Crouch.

Discussing working with Krauss again on the Raise the Roof material, Plant notes, “You hear something and you go ‘Man, listen to that song, we got to sing that song!’ It’s a vacation, really — the perfect place to go that you least expected to find.”

Adds Alison, “We wanted it to move. We brought other people in, other personalities within the band, and coming back together again in the studio brought a new intimacy to the harmonies.”

In support of Raise the Roof, Plant and Krauss are planning to tour together in 2022.

Raising Sand won five Grammys in 2009, including Album of the Year.

Raise the Roof will be released on November 19, and can be pre-ordered now.

Here’s the full track list:

“Quattro (World Drifts In)”
“The Price of Love”
“Go Your Way”
“Trouble with My Lover”
“Searching for My Love”
“Can’t Let Go”
“It Don’t Bother Me”
“You Led Me to the Wrong”
“Last Kind Words Blues”
“High and Lonesome”
“Going Where the Lonely Go”
“Somebody Was Watching Over Me”

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Enter 10,958 nights: Metallica’s ‘The Black Album’ turns 30

Blackened Recordings

Thirty years ago today, light exited, night entered, and perhaps the biggest metal album of all time was unleashed on the world.

Metallica‘s self-titled fifth studio record, aka The Black Album, was released August 12, 1991. With an RIAA certification of 16-times Platinum — including the hallowed Diamond distinction for over 10 million copies sold — The Black Album is Metallica’s best-selling release of their career.

Upon its release, The Black Album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 — a career first for Metallica — and has since gone on to spend a total of 619 weeks on the chart, the fourth most of any album in history. It spawned hit singles in “Enter Sandman,” “Nothing Else Matters,” “The Unforgiven,” “Sad but True” and “Wherever I May Roam,” propelling both Metallica and metal as a whole to new heights in mainstream culture.

Metallica toured extensively in support of The Black Album, including on the Monsters of Rock tour and dates with Guns N’ Roses, as well as their own headlining shows. During a stop on the GN’R run in 1992, James Hetfield was badly burned in an onstage pyrotechnic accident, which left him unable to play guitar for the rest of the tour.

Despite its massive critical and commercial success, some Metallica fans saw The Black Album as a betrayal of the band’s earlier thrash and progressive sound in favor of a more mainstream style. Indeed, it’s now often seen as a dividing line in Metallica’s discography, with some insisting that everything the band released after 1991 isn’t as good as their pre-The Black Album work.

Metallica will celebrate The Black Album‘s 30th anniversary with a deluxe reissue and The Metallica Blacklist tribute compilation, featuring 53 artists covering every song on the record. Both releases arrive September 10.

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Neal Schon says he didn’t think Journey’s new song sounded like the band; discusses upcoming album’s release

Journey’s Jonathan Cain, Neal Schon & Arnel Pineda; Courtesy of Journey

In June, Journey released a new single called “The Way We Used to Be” that will part of the band’s forthcoming studio album, which will be the group’s first collection of new, original songs since 2011’s Eclipse.

Journey guitarist Neal Schon tells ABC Audio that “The Way We Used to Be” began as a musical idea he came up with using a keyboard loop, to which he then added guitar, bass and string sounds before sending it to the band’s longtime keyboardist, Jonathan Cain, for him to fill out with lyrics and melodies.

Schon admits that when he first sent the tune to Cain, he didn’t think it sounded like a Journey song.

“I thought it was more like…a Bad English song or something for John Waite or Rolling Stones with a little harder edge,” Neal explains. “And I’m glad that 90 percent of the people that have heard it love it. Some others are just going, ‘Wow, that doesn’t sound like Journey.’ And I go, ‘Well, it wasn’t meant to be’…but it ended up on our album.”

Speaking about the band’s studio effort, Schon says, “There’s so much great material on this album that we’ve…produced and I’ve been working on for well over a year now with everybody.”

Neal tells ABC Audio that it was “a blessing” for him to get to record a lot of his parts live in the studio with Journey’s new drummer, Narada Michael Walden, who also is producing the album, while the other band members generally laid down there parts remotely.

As for when the new album might be released, Schon reports, “It could come out at the end of this year, or, if it doesn’t, I believe that it will come out sometime after the first [of January].”

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Ex-Kiss and Iron Maiden members, Triumph, Stryper and more among 2021 Metal Hall of Fame inductees

Courtesy of Metal Hall of Fame

Triumph, Stryper and former members of KISS and Iron Maiden are among the inductees who will be welcomed into the Metal Hall of Fame this year during a virtual ceremony the will be livestreamed on September 12 starting at 3 p.m. ET at Volume.com/MetalHallofFame.

The KISS alumni who will be honored during the event are guitarist Bruce Kulick and late drummer Eric Carr, while the band’s current manager, Doc McGhee, and late former manager Bill Aucoin also will be inducted.

Meanwhile, two of Iron Maiden’s former lead singers, Paul Di’Anno and Blaze Bayley, also will be inducted into the Metal Hall of Fame, as will Derek Riggs, the artist who created the band’s infamous mascot, “Eddie.”

Other honorees at the event include former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman and acclaimed rock photographer Mark Weiss.

In addition, a variety of musicians will serve as virtual presenters during the ceremony, including KISS’ Paul Stanley and Eric Singer, Dee Snider, ex-Judas Priest singer Tim “Ripper” Owens, Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante, former Ozzy Osbourne touring guitarist Gus G, Fozzy, frontman Chris Jericho and many more.

The Metal Hall of Fame livestream also will feature footage and performances from past induction ceremonies to mark the fifth anniversary of the event.

“The…2021 Metal Hall of Fame Livestream Gala Video is a great way to have all hard rock and heavy metal fans around the world to take part in our Annual Induction Ceremony,” says Hall of Fame president Pat Gesualdo. “In 2021 we had to do a recorded livestream video of the Gala as a result of the Covid 19 lockdown restrictions. We are excited that as of now, the Annual 2022 Metal Hall of Fame Gala will be back to normal in January, and held in person.”

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Billy Joel pays tribute to late record exec who helped steer his career: “I will miss him”

L-Walter Yetnikoff, R- Billy Joel; Bobby Bank/WireImage

Legendary record executive Walter Yetnikoff, who died on Sunday, would have been 88 on Wednesday, August 11.  As the head of CBS Records from 1975 to 1990, Yetnikoff guided the careers of Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand and Billy Joel, who posted a tribute to the late music-industry bigwig on his website Wednesday.

Billy recorded for Columbia Records, which at the time was owned by CBS. Billy writes, “Walter Yetnikoff was the man who changed everything at Columbia Records…Walter was a street fighter — a man who didn’t shy away from confrontation with other power players when it came to protecting his artist’s interests.”

Billy continues, “I will always be eternally grateful to him for ensuring that my song copyrights and publishing rights were returned to me — intact. I loved him as a dear friend and a mentor, in a business where real friendships don’t exist.”

The Piano Man adds, “I owe much of my good fortune to Walter’s stewardship at the Columbia label. I will miss him and the strong life force that he was.”

In other news, Billy returned to the stage for his first post-pandemic concert at Boston’s Fenway Park last week, and is currently set to perform at Buffalo’s Highmark Stadium this Saturday.

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